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Injury Updates in the Western Conference

Cameron Payne

Cameron Payne

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star Weekend has come to an end, and now we have to wait until Thursday, February 24 to get our next taste of real NBA action. That means there are no games Monday through Wednesday, so I’ll spend the next two nights breaking down all of the injuries that are still relevant heading into the final portion of the season post-All-Star break. This Dose will focus on the Western Conference injuries and some fantasy implications, and then in 24 hours I’ll break down the Eastern Conference.

Western Conference Injuries

- Chris Paul (right thumb avulsion fracture) out 6-to-8 weeks - this is absolutely the biggest injury update we have, and it was also the most recent. The Phoenix point guard injured his thumb in Wednesday’s narrow win over the Rockets, and sadly, he has to be a drop candidate because of the timeline he was given. Six weeks from now will place CP3 to play on April 4 at the earliest, meaning he has a maximum of four more games to play. Unless your IL+ slots are completely empty and you want to put him in one of those, you can get rid of him. Cameron Payne (right wrist) hasn’t played since January 22, but with him expected to suit up against the Thunder on Thursday, he’s automatically on the fantasy map. In 40 games this season, Payne has posted per-36 averages of 18.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.0 three-pointers per game, and while the 40.4% shooting from the field could be an issue, he’s definitely worth an add if you have a spot for him. It’s very much worth noting that both Aaron Holiday and Elfrid Payton could get more minutes as well, but Payne is a bit more proven and was Paul’s backup before he went down. Holiday was just acquired from the Wizards and hasn’t looked too bad in his first three games as a Sun, but Payne looks to be the way to go right now. Elfrid Payton is an alright guy for counting stats but he’s had one usable game this whole season and I find him the least attractive of the trio.

- Anthony Davis (right mid-foot sprain) to be re-evaluated in four weeks - AD’s injury was not pretty and it’s a miracle that it was just called a sprain. That being said, Davis is no stranger to injuries and keep in mind, he’ll be re-evaluated in four weeks, not necessarily returning in four weeks. The Lakers are in a weird spot right now and while many would have thought they’d keep Davis out as long as possible in hopes for having him 100% for the playoffs, they aren’t even guaranteed to make the playoffs. This means they’ll want their big man back as soon as possible, but it’s going to take some time. Whenever Davis gets hurt, there aren’t any must-add guys, which is weird given how many numbers he puts up when he plays. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook figure to see more usage coming their way, and if you wanted to pick up anyone, you can grab Carmelo Anthony. Melo hasn’t played since February 3 due to a hamstring injury, but he’s had plenty of time to get it right and should play in Friday’s game against the Clippers.

- Damian Lillard (abdomen) - Dame should be re-evaluated pretty soon, and about a month ago he said that he hasn’t ruled out a return this season. This is probably even more true now with the Blazers going into the break on a four-game winning streak, and with a legitimate chance at a play-in spot, Dame will only help their postseason push if he’s cleared in time. Other Blazers point guard Eric Bledsoe (left Achilles) hasn’t played since January 31 when he was on the Clippers, and he could make a little noise with Dennis Smith Jr. being released, but there are almost assuredly better options on your wire.

- Draymond Green (back) “hopeful” to be back in 3-to-4 weeks - Draymond hasn’t played since January 5 (if you don’t count the seven seconds he played four days after that just because it was Klay Day), and the 3-to-4 week timeline isn’t set in stone at all. If he does return in exactly three weeks, he’s able to play in the final 14 Warriors games at most, which could be nice for a part of fantasy playoffs depending on your format, but that’s about it. Green could easily miss more time as the Warriors want him healthy for the real playoffs first and foremost, so while he’s not as droppable as maybe Chris Paul, he’s not a must-hold either. James Wiseman (right knee) hasn’t played this season, and while he’s set to get some reps in the G-League, he’s going to be brought along even more slowly than Draymond is when he’s healthy. Steve Kerr did say that there could be minutes for Wiseman available when he’s able to play, but there’s no need to roster him this season and is rather just a guy to watch in preparation for next season.

- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right ankle sprain) - the last we heard on SGA was that he was out through the All-Star break, but now that we’re beyond that, he could play soon. The Thunder won’t rush him back for any reason as they commit to their usual tanking ways, and Josh Giddey has been so fun that they may not even want him to play again this season. Jokes aside, keep an eye out for Shai’s status ahead of Thursday’s matchup with the Suns in case he plays, but I wouldn’t count on it. The other Thunder player with a long-term injury, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (broken foot), still won’t be back for at least another three weeks, but he’s not nearly good enough to be worth stashing for any reason.

- Donovan Mitchell (upper respiratory illness) - Spida couldn’t play in Sunday’s All-Star game and was ruled out just hours before, but the illness is not COVID-related. Plus, the Jazz don’t play until Friday (vs. Mavericks) so he’ll be just fine by then.

- Norman Powell (left foot) out indefinitely - we haven’t received a concrete timetable on the new Clipper’s injury, but it’s not promising. You can hold him for a bit until we hear more, but if we don’t within the week, he can be let go. Luckily, the Clippers don’t lack for wings, so guys like Marcus Morris Sr., Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey could all split some of Powell’s minutes. Because of the plethora of wings in L.A., there’s no clear pickup here.

- Dillon Brooks (left ankle) expected back early March - Brooks was originally thought to be targeting a mid-February return, but we’re still at least a couple weeks away. He was having a great season before the injury and while the Grizzlies have looked awesome with or without him, he can be held onto since he isn’t too far off.

- Jeremy Lamb (left ankle soreness) - Lamb looked really good in his Kings debut on February 9 but has been sidelined since with the ankle injury, but he’s close if not already there. Especially given his promising debut, give him a look.

The following is a list of guys (roughly in order of most fantasy relevant to least) who missed their final game or two before the break but should play immediately after the break given the minor nature of the injuries (of course, don’t just assume these guys will play right out of the gate and be sure to check back when we get a hold of the injury report for Thursday’s games, just in case):

- Lu Dort (left shoulder strain)

- Reggie Bullock (left hip contusion)

- Davion Mitchell (right hand soreness)

- Kevin Porter Jr. (illness)

- Eric Gordon (right groin soreness)

- Kenrich Williams (right knee sprain)

- Avery Bradley (right knee effusion)

- Trey Burke (left shoulder sprain)

- Frank Ntilikina (left ankle soreness)

That should do it! Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, I’ll have a very similar Dose for the Eastern Conference. Until then, sit tight until basketball is back, and buckle up for the fantasy playoffs that are ever-so-rapidly approaching.